Development Review

Development review is a new process established by the Somerville Zoning Ordinance to document development activity happening in Somerville. Almost all development activity must submit a Development Review Application (DRA) and receive a Certificate of Zoning Compliance (CZC) whether the activity is by-right or if it requires additional review with the Review Boards. A Certificate of Zoning Compliance confirms that development activity is compliant with the Somerville Zoning Ordinance and that all development review procedures have been properly completed.

There are three (3) exceptions:

  1. Normal Maintenance
  2. Internal Demolition
  3. Roof-mounted Photovoltaic (PV) Devices 

Normal maintenance and internal demolition, as defined by the Somerville Zoning Ordinance, and the installation of roof mounted photovoltaic (PV) devices are not required to submit a DRA and do not need to receive a CZC. ISD is prohibited from issuing Building Permits or Certificates of Occupancy for any development that has not already received a Certificate of Zoning Compliance, save for the exceptions listed above. 

Development review applications are currently processed through a collaboration of two Somerville City departments: The Planning & Zoning Division (P&Z) and the Inspectional Services Division (ISD). Applications for by right development are issued a Certificate of Zoning Compliance within ten (10) days of a complete DRA submittal. Proposed development may or may not necessitate the need for Site Plan Approval, a Special Permit, or a Hardship Variance based on the nature of the proposal. Applications that require further development review are generally scheduled for a public hearing within sixty-five (65) days of a complete DRA submittal. Once the additional development review is properly completed, the application is transferred to ISD and a Certificate of Zoning Compliance is issued to confirm that development plans are compliant with the Somerville Zoning Ordinance and that all development review procedures have been properly completed.

The Planning & Zoning Division will assist applicants through the development review process required the by the Somerville Zoning Ordinance. To begin the engagement, Applicants should fill out the intake form below either online or submit the form in person at OSPCD, 3rd Floor City Hall, 93 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA.

Development Review Applications (DRA)

To learn more about the application process and requirements for submittal materials please review the DRA Submittal Requirements. (last update: January 23, 2020)

Application Forms

Timeline

  • Per the SZO, a Certificate of Zoning Compliance is issued within 10 days of a complete Development Review Application submittal that does not require additional review.
  • Per MGL 40A and established MA case law, public hearings are generally scheduled within 65 days of a complete Development Review Application submittal that does require additional review. 

Other Application Forms

Learn More

Permitting Process Diagram